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Badly Drawn Boy 

One Plus One Is One (Astralwerks)

Consider the sad fate of the typical cult artist. He puts out one consistently enjoyable disc after another, earning positive reviews on each occasion. Unfortunately, his work is too modest to attract monster sales, and after a while, even critics tire of saying the same nice things about him. When journalists finally turn their attention to the next lost cause, said performer quietly drifts into semi-oblivion, seldom to be heard from again.

Badly Drawn Boy Damon Gough is in the middle of this process. His new CD won't make fans forget his last three excellent discs (The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, Have You Fed the Fish?, and the criminally overlooked soundtrack to About a Boy), but the warmth, melodic opulence, and barbed wit of tunes such as "Year of the Rat" and the U.S.-only bonus track "Don't Ask Me I'm Only the President" should hit the sweet spot of even the most jaded observer.

More by Michael Roberts

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